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Josh Allen skips NFL Draft, returning to Kentucky Wildcats Football

The junior hybrid outside linebacker was projected to be taken in the first three rounds of the 2018 draft after a solid season.

Eastern Kentucky v Kentucky Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Kentucky Wildcats junior linebacker Josh Allen will bypass the 2018 NFL draft and return to UK for his senior season.

“Coming back for another year will be the best way for me to grow physically and mentally and prepare for my ultimate goal of playing in the NFL,” Allen said. “This coming year will be special for the University of Kentucky football team because we have a plan, not only to win the East, but to win the SEC! Let’s finish what we started.”

Allen led Kentucky in both sacks (seven) and tackles for loss (9.5) in 2017. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound product of Montclair, N.J., has developed into one of the best edge rushers in the SEC after arriving at UK as a mostly unheralded prospect. He has totaled 19.5 tackles for loss in 38 career games along with 14.5 sacks.

“Excited to get Josh Allen back for his senior season – great teams are built on senior leaders and playmakers,” head coach Mark Stoops said.

The 6’5” hybrid edge defender was the only player in college football to record a sack in each of his first six games this season. Despite having a quiet second half of the year, during which he recorded only one-half sack, Allen was projected to be taken in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft.

His raw speed and athleticism translate well to the next level, and his technique can be honed by the NFL coaches who will get their hands on him. But he’ll now look to return for his senior season and follow in the footsteps of former Wildcat Bud Dupree, who spent four years in Lexington making a name for himself rushing the passer and creating havoc in the backfield.

Make no mistake about it: This is tremendous news for UK and the outlook of this defense in 2018.